Train Kept A-Rollin’
October 20, 2021
“Train Kept A-Rollin’ ”is a song by American jazz and rhythm-and-blues musician Tini Bradshaw, first recorded in 1951. Originally a jump blues song, the lyrics were borrowed from another, earlier song, to which a faster tempo shuffle beat was added. The song quickly became popular with other musicians of those years, who began recording cover versions of it and performing them at concerts. In 1956 Johnny Burnett and his band The Rock and Roll Trio also made an important contribution to the history of the composition - reworking "Train Kept A-Rollin" into a song based on a guitar riff, demonstrating one of the first targeted uses of distortion in rock music. In 1965, the British band The Yardbirds popularized Train Kept A-Rollin 'as one of the first psychedelic blues rock compositions, thanks in large part to Jeff Beck's memorable fuzzy guitar arrangement. Subsequently, this version became the most copied among other rock musicians. After guitarist Jimmy Page joined the band, The Yardbirds recorded an updated version of the song titled "Stroll On" (with updated lyrics) for Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 film Zoom. This variation, featuring a fast rhythm section and two lead guitars by Beck and Page sounding in unison, is considered by musicologists to be the forerunner of heavy metal. After The Yardbirds disbanded in 1968, "Train Kept A-Rollin '" was used as the opening live song of Page's new band Led Zeppelin. This song also became an important part of Aerosmith's early concert repertoire, in 1974 they recorded it for their second album Get Your Wings. The band's version consisted of two parts - the first had a slower, groovy arrangement, while the second was based on the energetic version of The Yardbirds. Aerosmith popularized the song as a hard rock standard and one of the pillars of classic rock radio stations; and to this day it remains one of their most popular tunes in this format.